Wondering what Cubase offers for guitar practice?

Does Cubase have the ability to display scales, chords, modes, tabs?

Is it only when a midi file is loaded, or can it show scale info unloaded?

Can VariAudio help determine what scale and key?

I don’t mind reading if someone can point me to some good threads or links, and explanations are always good. I’m starting up bass after a long time as a self taught guitar player and trying to help myself think more melodically! lol


I’m just looking for a high level overview of what is, and isn’t possible.

What I have found so far.

I think the following two posts are now outdated and Cubase can do this based on threads below. Not sure what type of tab.

Full-fledged Steinberg Scoring program Dorico

Here they are saying guitar tab is coming for Dorico.

This is interesting.

  1. Create two MIDI tracks
  2. Draw a MIDI Part in the upper track
  3. Shift+Alt +drag the Part down to the 2nd MIDI track… This creates a Shared Copy of the original.
  4. Open both Parts in the Score, and set Staff Setting for the upper staff to treble clef… transposition=12, and enable Tablature Mode (guitar) for the lower staff.
    Now anything entered in one staff will be reflected in the other :wink:.

Making a Chord track from piano midi.

Displaying chord names over chords in score

Welcome to the forums.

  1. Cubase does it all. If you are a music student, you can use cubase to learn and use all kinds of scales, chords, inversions. Cubase has an outstanding ability to Transpose Music and offers a large set of Scales and Chord Voicings which you can use. The Chord Track and the Chord Pads will be very helpful. The Chord Assistant is very cool. Give it time, read the operations manual and watch some youtube videos.

  2. VariAudio is more complex and will take some time to master. Import some clips and, again, watch some videos on youtube about how it works. It will show you the pitches of, say, a solo vocal line, and, so, yes, it can help identify scales and chords used in tunes. Cubase can even create MIDI notes from the Audio, and those MIDI notes can be used in other tracks. Import some clips and you’ll figure it out. There’s a little piano display to the left in VariAudio to show the pitches.

Good luck. Give it time.

Thanks. What I am finding are piano displays rather than guitar displays for midi data. The other stuff is definitely helpful. I was talking about this with a friend last night and it may be counter-intuitive to allow a program to do it all for you in the first place. Determining keys, scales, and modes can be subjective to what “sound” you’re going for also. I’ve been watching circle of fifth videos which lends quite a few shortcuts itself and although I’m not affiliated in any way I find the info on zombieguitar.com very useful. The guy has the circle of fifths tattooed on his arm. It must be useful. lol Cubase is a recording program and once you make the leap into theory some of us look for doing more in the program towards that end. It’s one of those times I wish some third party could plug in an addon package to cover those kind of features.

I’ve been surviving on the minor pentatonic scale for a long time as a guitar player. I had a theory session with a friend last night and he blew my mind with the CAGED system. In a nutshell, the bar chord shapes of C,A,G,E,D can be used in succession up the neck to find every similar chord on the neck. All of the C’s, for instance. Then, those shapes are movable to find all the chords on a different root note such as D. You just have to remember to bar with your first finger as you go up. Once you know all of the major chords then you can change the necessary intervals to learn the other chord types such as minor, augmented, diminished, suspended, sevenths, etc. I thought it was cool. lol

That all sounds great.

Yes, there’s truth about not getting locked in, but you’ll find that Cubase will help you in many ways. Take a Major Scale, say all quarter notes, two octaves. Copy it and then use Midi > Transpose Setup to do a parallel Transposition. Select the measures containing the scale, then transpose the copy to one of the other scale types, say, from C Major to C Blue 1. Notice that “no scale” can be used if you just want to move everything up or down.

Cubase is very strong in the harmonic vocabulary stuff. It will assist, but it mostly won’t get in the way of your creativity. One thing I recommend is this. Under “Preferences” go to Event Display > Chords and Pitches and, there check the box that says “Enharmonics from Chord Track.” Then, if you’re in the key of F and you put an F Major Chord on the Chord Track, Cubase will show you “Bb” rather than “A#” in the midi editor.

One of the books I used to study Jazz is called the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization by George Russell. It took a few years to get though that one and I still review it today. Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization - Wikipedia.

Have fun. :slight_smile:

Great ideas to try. Thanks!

I use Cubase in several ways to practice…
Several of these examples are more technique related than theory related but I thought I would mention them.

Practice Improvisation in multiple keys quickly. I have built a few projects with VSTi drums, bass, keys and rhythm guitar. Each one has it’s own “style” such as a jazz fusion, Rock, Blues, etc. The Chord Track is fully defined and the guitar, bass, and keys follow the chord track. Then I can quickly change the chord progressions via the Chord Track and practice improvisation over those chords and modes. I posted one a while back. Here is the thread…

Slowing down my favorite solos for both learning and practicing to get it up to speed. I just import the song, and use the time stretch to slow the solo down without the pitch changing. Then gradually speed the solo back up a little at a time as I play along with it.

I also have Guitar Pro, which is kind of useful because on some Guitar Tab websites there are fully transcribed songs including drums bass guitar, etc., but of course they don’t really sound very good. So I export the song from GP to MIDI, import it into Cubase, and then I have complete control of practicing. I can speed up, slow down, or skip sections, mute instruments or raise their level, etc. It is even fun to sometimes edit the MIDI for the instruments to make them sound more realistic by adding articulations and changing note velocities, lengths etc., and use a better VST Instrument such as the Scarbee Basses in Kontakt or HALion 6 for synth sounds. I then re-record the guitars with my own playing. I have done a couple songs where I just try to see how close I can get my version to sound like the real thing. Of course the Guitar Pro isn’t needed to do this. You just need a MIDI file of the song. I just found that there are a lot of songs transcribed to Guitar Pro available online.

I even have a project saved with just some different time signature and metronome patterns to practice different alternate picking exercises. For example, a 5/4 pattern to practice a 3 note on a string then 2 notes on the next string repeating pattern that can be gradually sped up. 7/4 works great because there are 7 notes in the scale before repeats AND harmonic minor can have 3 notes on a string then 4 notes on the next and so on for three octaves.

I hope this helps but IMO Cubase can be very helpful for practicing.

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Excellent suggestions. I’ve not made enough use of the time stretch for learning method.

Regarding multi-part MIDI files. Is this only found in Guitar Pro files, or is it becoming a standard in MIDI? When they’re imported into Cubase I guess they get their own tracks automatically but not routed to an instrument? I understand that process. Where are you finding the best MIDI files? I find the multi part to be extremely helpful not only for learning a part, but also learning song composition.

Actually, they do usually get automatically assigned to a general MIDI instrument in HALion Sonic SE. Because Guitar Pro allows scoring of other instruments, it uses a general MIdI assignments for them and when I export to a MIDI file, it formats it properly. I would assume that any multi-track midi file would import into Cubase properly provided it has the track instruments defined using the GM conventions. I get most of them from UltimateGuitar.com. I have gotten a few my just googling something like “La Villa Strangiato tab” and seeing what comes up. 911 Guitar Tabs is another website that has many tabs.

There is another Tab composition type App called “Tab Pro” (I think). I have never tried it but I do see many tabs in that format as well. Guitar Pro seems to be the most prevalent format out there though.

Guitar Rig does this also BUT not nearly as well as Cubase. GR only accepts .mp3 (I think) and much of my music is .wma, which Cubase is ok with. PLUS, with Cubase it is very easy to use the locators and set up a loop on a specific part, etc.


Thanks for sharing. You have some great suggestions. I have a bit of a Cubase newbie question though. Instead of time stretching, couldn’t you just change the tempo of the song (I’ve recently come over from Cakewalk Sonar where a quick tempo change would have accomplished this)?


If the song is in Musical Mode (which I think it would be by default) then yes, changing the tempo would do the same thing.
I just find the pointer tool, set to “resizing applies time stretch” is quicker. As a usuage example, say I just want to slow down one part of the song or solo but I want to play along with the whole song at normal speed… I use the scissors to cut around the section I want to slow down then drag it to a new track below. Get the stretch tool, stretch to desired tempo and then drag the remainder of the song to “snap” to the end of the solo. I guess the main difference between the resize tool and the tempo change is that a tempo change applies to the whole thing unless you create a tempo track with varying tempo sections which would almost certainly take longer.

Do you have to buy the programs to get access to the tabs, or is there more available if you do in either of these?

Guitar Pro and Tab Pro do cost money. GP is $70 new and they have a trial and iOS and Android apps. Not sure about Tab Pro. You do need the programs to access the tabs in those formats (the tabs are saved in a specific format, i.e. a “.gp5” file extension).
I think Tab Pro is Web Based…